Park’s Finest Filipino BBQ Finally Open For Lunch!
I can’t remember when exactly I first heard about Park’s Finest, the neighborhood BBQ outfit turned professional caterer turned brick and mortar that’s been cooking up their brand of Filipino BBQ since the 80s. But I do remember the disappointment I felt when I discovered that their brand new restaurant, on Temple just outside of Downtown L.A., was only open on Friday nights for dinner! Thankfully this setback was purely temporary, because last week (after a brief flirtation with random Tuesday lunches) they started a new Thursday-Sunday lunch and dinner schedule.
Not to be confused with Park’s BBQ, the famous Korean restaurant on Western, Park’s Finest features a unique brand of home style Filipino BBQ. If you’re expecting the standard Filipino BBQ skewers and thick hunks of chargrilled pork belly, you’ll be disappointed. What you get instead is pulled pork, tri tip, pork ribs, salmon, short ribs, and cornbread. And there are hot links, but no longanisa (sweet Filipino sausages).
As of now the menu is ala carte, making it much more suited for sharing. And the portions are big enough that you could easily get out of there for under $10 if you go with 3 or 4 people. But they promised that eventually they’ll have some lunch specials for the solo mid-day diner.
For $10 you get 5 pretty sizeable pork ribs (they’re bigger than they look in the photo), resting atop a handful of pork riblet slices. Not exactly fall off the bone tender, but not a disaster either. The ribs were decently smokey (which is to be expected with Filipino BBQ), but once you poured their signature sweet and spicy BBQ sauce on top it was all good. The ribs probably wouldn’t win any barbecue competitions, and if this was a southern barbecue place I might be bummed, but for some reason I hold a place like this to a much different standard (I’m a reverse racist like that.) And one cannot underestimate the power of that Filipino barbecue sauce.
The taal manok chicken is another popular order at Park’s (we are in L.A. after all!), and it was tasty enough. $8 gets you something between a quarter and half a chicken, but unless I was with somebody who didn’t eat pork or beef I’d probably skip it to save room for the…
Coconut beef! This was by far the best thing that we ordered. Imagine a solid mash of pulled beef held together by a delicious coconut curry binding. It’s $12, but the portion is pretty large and it’s totally worth it. Loved every bite.
For side dishes, steamed rice ($2) is a natural accompaniment to the coconut beef. And their famed cornbread ($3) is every bit as sweet and addictive as promised. The park bites (their version of hush puppies, $3) were also tasty, but not as good a value. And they tasted like they had been sitting out for awhile. There’s also a parmesan and mayo topped corn ($2) and a veggie medley ($4) if you need some veggies to balance out all the meat.
It wasn’t a perfect meal by any stretch, and the way the menu is set up right now you really do have to go with 3 or 4 people to take full advantage. But the L.A. Weekly was dead on to say that there is something incredibly homey and like-able about this place. I will definitely be back… but next time with more reinforcements.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The coconut beef was so damn tasty!
- That barbecue sauce they put on the table will make anything taste better.
- I’m no barbecue snob… this food makes me feel like Filipino friends invited me to a backyard bbq at their house.
- That cornbread should be on a dessert menu! It’s like crack.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Barbecue is a tough thing to get perfect, and like most catering barbecue everything was a bit drier than it should be.
- You serve sausage, but it’s not longanisa!? Come on now…
- This place will be awesome when they introduce lunch specials!
The Park’s Finest, 1267 W Temple St. 213-247-4909
For now, they are only open Thursday & Friday 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm. Saturday Noon to 10pm. Sunday Noon to 7pm.